VA Tech victims received assistance from McAuliffe campaign to release statement
VA Tech victims Colin Goddard and Omar Samaha just released a statement encouraging voters not to support Sen. Creigh Deeds in the race for the Democratic gubernatorial primary. The language in the e-mail and its late timing had raised suspicions that the statement was encouraged by the campaigns of one or both of Deeds’ opponents, Brian Moran or Terry McAuliffe.
I just spoke to Colin Goddard and his father Andy. Goddard told me that he and Samaha and many other Virginia Tech families had watched a recent debate and had decided that Creigh Deeds was unacceptable in their eyes. He said that the families were split between Moran and McAuliffe.
However, when I asked Goddard directly about the involvement of either campaigns, he confirmed that he had received assistance from Terry McAuliffe’s campaign. Specifically he said the campaign provided he and Samaha with a press e-mail list to distribute their statement. He said the e-mail was supposed to go out Sunday, but an error was made in the sending process delaying it until today.
He denied that the campaign encouraged their efforts, and emphatically stated that the decision to release the statement was his and Samah’s idea, but he said the McAuliffe campaign was helpful in getting the information out.
When I asked Goddard who he would be voting for tomorrow, he said he had waited too long to register for an absentee ballot and was not going to be able to get to his home voting location in Richmond, so therefore would not be casting a ballot.
Goddard went further and told me that if Deeds were to be nominated tomorrow, that he and other VA Tech family members would have to have a serious conversation with the candidate. He said they would need specific assurances before they could give their support to Deeds in a race against Bob McDonnell.
McAuliffe Press Secretary Lis Smith confirmed their campaign’s involvement:
“Omar and Colin had a letter they wanted to send to the press about the primary. They asked us for a list of reporter emails and we provided the list.”
Brian Moran’s campaign said they had nothing to do with the statement. Campaign spokesperson Jesse Ferguson would only say the following:
“These folks have earned the right to have their opinion known and have their opinion stand on its own.”
I just received a statement from Creigh Deeds himself, reacting to the statement from the Colin Goddard and Omar Samaha:
“My heart has gone out to all of the victims and the families of the Virginia Tech tragedy. There are certain events that happen in our lifetime that are above politics. And I’m not going to comment on any campaign that would exploit this tragedy.”